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Tenacity through Tough Times

These are tough times.

Tenacity through Tough Times!

 
These are scary and very unusual times.
 
Neither I nor every elderly person I know or knew have experienced anything like this.
 
Yes, there was scurvy, leprosy, polio, WW1, WW2, Holocaust, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, SARS, HIV and even 9/11. They were all scary, lethal and very damaging.
 
Yet none of them was as invisible, as undetectable and with a potential to shroud and sicken in such large numbers over such vast distances, and at such a rapid speed.
 
It has brought the whole world to its knees, it has even slowed down time.
 
Yet, a part of me is telling me that even though our knees may have buckled, even though our hearts have been grabbed by a chilly, macabre hand our spirits still burn.
 
On the streets of Philippines where I live, where people love being close to each other, support and and care for each were for some days taken by surprise and shock.
 
It was against their very nature to keep away, to not support and not care. In the last two days small gestures and conversations of care, compassion and courage have begun to emerge.
 
Yesterday, I heard a young leader claim that she’d stand behind and support her small team of four, who still had to physically report for work.
 
Half the consultants and coaches I personally know have moved half their value creating work online for their clients at no cost.
 
Many doctors and health workers have swore to stay on and work in the hospitals until this battle is over.
 
This morning, a Sunday, a few homes across my place I heard church services being conducted. To me that is a sign. A big one. A sign that says we will all, across the world, break through and climb over to a shinier and a brighter day, to shinier and a brighter world.
Yes, it will be a totally brand new world from here on and it is bound to be a lot more creative, courageous and compassionate.
 
Raju Mandhyan
On April, I am inviting you to an online chat on “Tenacity through Tough Times,” please click to learn more and sign up. The first 25 seats are complimentary.
Learning to Learn

Nothing Beats Learning to Learn

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A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing the Director of Application Services of Hewlett Packard, Philippines, one Mr. Noel Mendoza and though the subject of our discussions was information technology and its growing impact on the world, there was something he said outside of the interview that got velcroed to my heart and I share that thought with you here today.

Learning to Learn

Raju Mandhyan at the American Management Association

Noel Mendoza mentioned that his father, the distinguished Professor Gabby Mendoza of the Asian Institute of Management had left an indelible mark on him and that mark stated that nothing is more important in a human being’s life than building and sustaining one’s ability in learning to learn. No diplomas, no degrees or doctorates granted by any institution can match up to one’s ability to become a self-driven learner at work and in life.

And, what applies in our daily lives and in our self-development and leadership initiatives alos applies to selling and serving the needs of our customers.

Years ago there was this humorous story about an inept salesman selling Bibles across the small towns of America was going around the internet. It’s a great story and puts across the point of eagerness and learning.

This Bible salesman would knock upon the doors, mumble his way through his introduction, stumble through his presentation and make an overall mess of what was considered to be an easy sale back in the day.

Upon seeing his inadequacy at his job, most of the people answering the door would get frustrated at his approach and respond with,

“You don’t know a thing about selling, do you?”

“No, ma’am, not really! I am new to this job and also quite clumsy around it.”

“Oh, you nitwit you, there’s nothing tough about selling, you know!”

“Yes, ma’am, you’re absolutely right. I need to trust that fact.”

“Oh, come now,” they’d rebuke, “let me show you how.”

And, the customer would then go about teaching this nitwit of a salesperson how to sell correctly. Well, at the end, you guessed it. His sales multiplied and he often made it to superstar status in his company.

His approach might be considered tricky today, but the essence of the Bible salesperson’s story lies in our wanting to learn.  When your buyer senses and is convinced you want to learn about them to help them improve, then they often lean over backwards and hand you their trust in spades.

My belief is this ‘wanting to learn’ is about innate curiosity. This desire to learn and add value is the anti-thesis, the opposite of what has been considered a standard selling process. In the standard selling process, the seller shamelessly shoves features, advantages and benefits to the prospective buyer.  The reversal of this attitude and the desire to learn creates a good vacuum that draws the buyer in to where solutions can be created.

I massively trust and profess success from the process of inquiry and questioning at any time and place.  This is the process of diagnostics and counselling that community workers, therapists, and doctors utilize. It is the process of interacting, learning and understanding our clients prior to prescribing solutions.  Interacting, inquiring deeply to learn about the customer is the true Heart of the Close.

A good teacher makes for a non-intrusive and gentle guide who creates an atmosphere to encourage students to think boldly, to talk freely, and to act judiciously. He makes available opportunities for them to exercise initiative, to grow and shape their own growth and development. A good sales leader does the same for his customers. He helps them create their own solutions and own them for tomorrow.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Raju MAndhyan

Respect, Renunciation and Resilience in Sales

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It’s sad enough that the world is broken up into so many geographical parts. We have drawn lines of differentiation from the North to the South Pole, from the East to the West. Our beliefs, ethnicities and cultural mindset further influence our attitude and treatment of others, putting them into stereo-typed segments. Effective and successful leaders must strive to rise above all this murk. They have an open and supportive mindset backed by immense tolerance for other people who do not reason, romanticize or react to issues the way they do.

Although the human brain is divided into the three functional segments of reasoning, romanticizing and reacting, every single one of us is a unique individual because of different genetic permutations, diverse backgrounds, and variances in education and exposures. Unfortunately, societal programming leads us into generalizing and stereotyping people at first glance.  Effective and successful leaders respect diversity by accepting that people are different. Their behavior is simply different; not necessarily bad or worse than our own uniqueness. In addition, leaders and successful salespeople profoundly recognize that human circumstances and perspectives are in a state of constant flux. Perceived realities vary and these realities change from moment to moment all the time.

A buyer who shows interest in your product on Monday morning may suddenly have a shift in his circumstances and could change his mind on Tuesday afternoon. The ultimate reality is:  different realities and they are changing all the time. It’s easy to say “different strokes for different folks” or “the only constant in this world is change” but it’s totally another matter to live out these truths. To succeed across diversity and constant change, we must live out these beliefs and practice open-mindedness, flexibility and adaptability… all the time, evert time.

In the world of neurosciences and its application to work, there exists a respected group of consultants who do not at all use the word ‘is’ when describing another person in their communications and interactions. Why?  They believe what ‘is’ means to the speaker is simply that particular speaker’s perspective; not solid fact.  What ‘is’ today may not be what ‘is’ tomorrow. Everything and everyone is always changing.

Raju MAndhyan

Respect, Resilience and Renunciation

Respecting diversity amongst people is a challenging habit to live out and practice. Yet it can grant us the power of being a super sales performer and human being above par.  With this habit we can become active learners, early adapters and resilient Samurais of interpersonal skills in every sales and selling interaction. It keeps our proverbial ‘saw’ eternally sharp and smooth so it can cut, softly and subtly, through the hardest of challenges.

An attitude and mindset like this builds resiliency, help us practice Zen-like renunciation from short-term results and instant gratifications common in the business of selling and driving positive change. So go leap of those cliffs every day and should you fall then get up, dust yourself off and get into the pit again and again.  Remember to respect differences, renunciate from the anguish of failure and keep your spirits bouncy.

Article inspired by The HeART of the CLOSE

 

Raju Mandhyan, Author, Coach and Learning Facilitator

www.mandhyan.com

 

Influencing Disruption

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There are two ways to look at disruption.

Influencing Disruption

The first one is to be Zen-like and let the future unfold on its own, organically. The second one is to strike a spark, within our minds first, and then let the flames mold the world.

We would not qualify as the fittest of all the species if we just sat back and let external change take total control of our own evolution. We stand apart from all other species because we make choices and take a step ahead. Thus, we need not just stay ahead of the curve but influence the occurrence of curves.

First, let’s get cognizant of what is changing at an unprecedented pace around us and then figure a way out to step ahead of it.

What is changing rapidly is data exchange, amounts of automation, computing in the cloud and the interactions between these artificial, systemic intelligences with humans and the human mind in real-time.

Though these changes are, originally and essentially, human created and did not drop from unknown heavens, they are creating a sense of trepidation and massive uncertainty among the larger part of the population. It is like all the futuristic stories and the science fiction we created a hundred years ago is becoming reality. It is like all of Isaac Asimov’s imaginations are coming alive. It is like the heavens are sneering down at us and saying “You are getting what you wished for.”

While it is true that 4.0 is our own creation many sectors and industries have no idea what to do. Some believe digitizing and automating their work will place them ahead of the curve. Others are hoping these waves of change will pass them by and they will be good like before. Consider the impact this change has had on traditional publishing, traditional travel services and, of course, the traditional taxi services. In Mumbai, last month, I saw scores of the yellow-black cabs collecting dust by the road-sides and those that were moving were actually stumbling through the times with drivers from times gone by.

To ride these waves of change, don’t play the game ‘tag’ but play ‘follow the leader.’

Recognize that disruption is not just change or adapting to change. Disruption is also not just thinking creatively of innovating. Disruption is smashing the fish bowl onto the ground and making sure that the fish learn to fly and breathe air through their gills. Disruption is putting off all the lights of the world and using the moon to brighten the earth. Disruption is accepting nothing as the status quo and then deeply connecting large variables with precision and razor sharpness.

Think about that. Companies and business models like SpaceX, Airbnb and Uber did not even exist in the wildest dreams of business leaders and innovators twenty years ago. And, given what is looming in the near future, the imaginations off Isaac Asimov will appear like child’s play.

In the world of learning and development where I hail from we believe in the habits of storming, forming and norming. In the world of ancient myth and spirituality it is believed that the world is created, sustained and then disrupted. There are parallels in these beliefs and storming and disruptions are necessary for renewals and evolution.

Here are three ideas on how business leaders can empower their organizations and positive influence disruption.

  1. Hunger with the fact that you need to disrupt your own belief systems and mindsets before you influence the world around you to become new. Do the same with your people.
  2. Practice emotional grit and resiliency towards setback and failures. Empower your people and give them huge space to fail. Recognize that failure is cornerstone for all success. The iPhone did not just come along. Others like Nokia, Handspring and Blackberry had to fail for it to be born,
  3. Recognize interconnectedness and think in systems. Make learning and agility your daily mantra. Everything is about learning. Everything needs to be stormed, formed and then normed and stormed again.

Revolutions and renewals require courage to take action despite uncertainty. There are no best practices and no strategies that guarantee success.  And, as with all things in life, the first step is the hardest. Lift the first stone of your choice and then slam it down to break ground for a brand new world.

P.S.

  1. This and many other articles of mine appear in Business World, Philippines. https://www.bworldonline.com/influencing-disruption/
  2. This article is also a build up towards my speaking tour this July with Scott Friedman of Together We Can Change the World in July 2019. Check: http://twcctw.org/

 

 

Three Essentials to Authenticity

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Talk about being authentic and, often you will hear this one: “We are in such a hurry to grow up, and then we long for our lost childhood. We make ourselves ill earning money, and then spend all our money on getting well again. We think so much about the future that we neglect the present, and thus experience neither the present nor the future. We live as if we were never going to die, and die as if we had never lived.” By Paulo Coelho

Most all our lives, we desperately struggle to find ourselves. We strive to live, and live out our lives exactly the way we want to but end up creating and living in contradictions. It is not that in the deepest of our hearts we do not know what we want. We do, but adapting and adjusting to a demanding world we let our true selves get corroded, get covered with gunk. Yet from deep within there is that being, that energy and that soul that yearns to fly, to go and grab a fistful of the sky and claim it as how own. 

In the history of mankind there have been a few who have flown so high and so purely in the skies of their own choosing. And, there are almost all of us who for scores of times in our lives have dug a window through that corrosion and that gunk that surrounds and made our presence felt. We have, at times, lived out our dreams and desires loudly and boldly. The question that arises is how do increase the frequency of these liberating moments and sustain them so that at the end of our days we can feel that, hey, I am ready to die because I have lived a full, fruitful and an authentic life. Inspired by an interview, I conducted of Dr. Peter Senge a few years ago, it struck me living an authentic life at work and in society when we:

Step Up: In all circumstances, especially the most challenging ones our options eventually get boiled down to just two. Should we take the well-treaded and safe path or should we step up and take the road less travelled. The roads less travelled, or the right decisions that will make us stand apart and away from others  are always packed with risk but the person who steps up to the calling of his inner voice, scales up the mountains of authenticity. Yes, it takes courage to be authentic. Yes, it takes gumption to stand up, speak up and move towards what your heart, mind and soul tell you are the right things to say and do.

Step In: Daniel Goleman in his book, Focus, talks about how a bunch of preachers-to-be on the road to take up tests in compassion and kindness totally ignore a homeless person on the street asking for help. In their case, it was probably about lack of awareness but often in life, we prefer to stay away from trouble that doesn’t belong to us. In a highly interconnected world most everything does, in a way, belong to us. The other day, someone sent me a video of some folks torching the tongue of street dog. The thought in my mind was why would someone take a video of that and not stop the carnage? Or, when we see others dumping toxic waste and plastic into our rivers why don’t we step in. Stepping in into murky situations, if our conscience calls for it, is the authentic thing to do.

Stand Tall: Dr. Peter Senge in that interview, available on you tube, claims that the eye cannot see the eye. We don’t ever know what the objective reality is because our perceptions, our lenses towards the world are tinted with our biases, our own agendas. Some of these, surely, are unconscious but a large number of those stains on our glasses are of our own making and the cleaner our windows are to the world the better we see it and the taller and prouder we can walk. Coming from clarity and approaching situations conscientiously will allow us to be ourselves, walk and stand tall in a volatile, uncertain, changing and an ambiguous world.  Said once my favorite childhood author, George Bernard Shaw, “Best keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world.”

Authenticity is not just honesty, it is not just being frank and outspoken but being authentic is being true to you inner calling moment after moment. It is about stepping up to challenges, stepping into situations where the right thing needs to be done and also keeping your values and your visions clean.

We live in a world that is constantly changing. We do not have to be the change because every breath we take, every though we think, every word we utter and every action that we take creates change. We do not need to apply force neither do we need to use undue power. We just live out our life with authenticity and gentle influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

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The Subtleties of Authentic Influence©

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TODAY, I complete and count nearly twenty-one years since I entered the world of public and then professional speaking. Within the first year of being part of a very elite group of professionals at the Executive Toastmasters Club of Makati, the club appointed me president.

Surely I’d had some experience in leading teams, building businesses and even being the chief honcho of other business-oriented organizations but I’d never had the experience of being at the helm of a team made of people coming from different walks of life. A group made from diverse backgrounds, and with no material stakes and agenda in the organization except the fact that it was a self-learning volunteer group.

For groups such as this, the leader really has very little assigned power at his disposal and is needed to still drive, succeed, and make the organization flourish.

Towards this end, I thankfully, consider myself to have been blessed to have an amazing mentor and coach in the form of the group’s former president, one Mr. Horacio S. Sese. Nicknamed Rexy, as many people in the Philippines are, he used to hailed as “Sexy Rexy.”

Rexy used to have this amazing way of making me think, visualize, verbalize, and then act and follow through with what was needed, what was productive, and everything that moved the team forward. A team that was loosely gelled, tender, and had haphazard stakes in doing so. I must also add to this that whatever Rexy guided me into doing was also always ethical and in service of others, something bigger than myself.

Though it has been over twenty years since then, here are a few subtleties about Rexy, about Authentic Influence,  and his styles which led me to perform better and grow:

Reputation. In my first few interactions with him, I picked up cues that Rexy knew what he was talking about and doing. Much more important than my own assessment of him almost everyone spoke well of him and looked up at him. This kind of presence and reputation isn’t and wasn’t downloadable from any source but it had been built over the years brick by brick and inch by inch. It was rock solid, dependable, and his reputation always walked into the room way before the person behind it did.

Respect. I was and still am twenty years younger than him. I was and still might be twenty years greener than him in many areas of life and in a world where power is wielded hierarchically; Rexy never let these differences show. For him, in reality, they did not exist and he treated me and all with others with massive courtesy and respect with every little word and every little micro-gesture. He never spoke at me. He did not highlight my lack of experience and know-how. He never disturbed my time without first seeking my permission.

Rapport. You can already guess by the fact that he allowed young and old to address him as “Sexy Rexy,” that he was also a fun and easy-going guy. There was barely any hot air in his hairy head. He had this uncanny ability to meet people in their own way, at their own level and use lightness and respect to win their trust and rapport rapidly. Regardless of how unique, urgent or ambiguous the tasks at hand were, Rexy made it a point to acknowledge and care for the person behind the task, namely me.

Research. This probably is not the precise word for the point I am trying to make but it fits into the theme and the scheme of things. Every time there was work to be done or little tasks that were probably behind time, Rexy’s conversations would start with exploring the background of the tasks at hand. After that he’d explore my thoughts and feelings about the work at hand. Gently, then he used to check if I had the resources and the support. Towards closing the conversation he’d get confirmations in such a way that would make me feel as if I were the lead and as if all the ideas were of my generation and which, in fact, was usually true. In our conversations, his open-minded, exploring way of guidance had me bursting with ideas and intentions to flourish. He never ever delegated. I owned and was accountable for all that I put out.

Request. Now just in case, wherever he had a need and not that I remember him having any, his mode, his demeanor was, always, as if he were making a request. I didn’t know how he did that. I don’t know where and how he acquired such a skill set but it was and still is mind-blowing. Over the years I have tried to imbibe that behavior and that demeanor and I am not sure if I have it. It is is a powerful competency and shall always remain on my wish list of things I want to be. I want to be like Rexy the Sexy.

In a world, today, that has exploded into the virtual domain where people live half their lives stuck to their smartphones and laptops; where social and business interactions thrive in the digital space these five subtleties of Authentic Influence can and will always rule all forms of dealings and interactions.

Your abilities to authentically influence the marketplace and your stakeholders will depend on your reputation, respect for them, rapport with them; your abilities to research their needs and turn your own needs into humble requests will make you social and business leaders who innovate and influence authentically.

On Saturday, the 18th of August, at 9:00AM Philippines, I am running a no fee webinar, please drop by and pick up or add a few things to the subject of Authentic Influence. Here’s the link for signing up:  Authentic Influence© by Raju Mandhyan